North Texas Daily

Taekwon-don’t mess with this kinesiology senior

Taekwon-don’t mess with this kinesiology senior

Taekwon-don’t mess with this kinesiology senior
August 09
11:30 2018

On July 21 and 22, UNT senior Corbin Deaton journeyed to Birmingham, England, to represent Team USA at the Taekwondo International meet. There were roughly 4,000 competitors from around the world, but she was able to bring home one gold and two silver medals, a masterful feat.

Deaton’s love for the martial arts dates back 10 years. She began with judo and jiu-jitsu in a mixed martial arts school in New Mexico, then moved to karate in Colorado and finally settling into perfecting the art of taekwondo in Texas at the World Taekwondo Alliance under her current teacher, Grandmaster McNeely.

“I latched onto it and stuck with it, and now it’s been about five years since joining taekwondo,” Deaton said.

Deaton is majoring in kinesiology and is set to graduate this upcoming December, after which she will be able to continue her education in the master’s program. She has been able to pursue her love for the Korean art of taekwondo while simultaneously pursuing her educational goals, and she will still be able to do so while completing her master’s degree. Deaton said balancing school and the martial art has proven to be a difficult task, but she has managed to make it out on top.

She attributes her ability to pursue both passions to John Nauright, chair and professor of the Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation at UNT.

“Dr. Nauright has greatly supported me in traveling over to England while being a student,” Deaton said. “If not for a conversation with him, I would not have known the opportunities offered in the master’s program while continuing my taekwondo training. Before I thought I would have to retire from taekwondo to continue my education.”

These opportunities entailed an academic scholarship award.

“To assist her being able to compete for Team USA and represent the best of UNT to a global audience, the Department [of Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation] supported her with a small award created to support world-class athletes not in UNT NCAA-linked sports,” Nauright said. “With funding she can continue her high-quality education, continue to compete and win more medals for Team USA and represent UNT globally as well.”

Corbin Deaton displays her metals she won at the Taekwondo International World Championships in Birmingham England. Will Baldwin

Preparing for the world stage

In order to train for the competition in England, Deaton trained every day that she possibly could. However, Deaton recalls the spring semester being one of the hardest semesters she’s ever had to face, with having to balance the additional stress of school.

“Once school got out though, I went every day that I possibly could,” Deaton said. “We have classes every day from Monday through Thursday, and on the weekends I work.”

Deaton trains at Plano Sports Authority Martial Arts, located in PSA 1 off of Preston Meadow Drive. The drive is nearly an hour each way, and she goes almost every day.

Her hard work and dedication pay off though, clearly evident in the numerous medals she brings home from every competition.

Past competitions have brought her to Italy, Florida and England. This coming fall entails competitions in Arkansas and Louisiana, and perhaps even a trip to Croatia.

Deaton is a busy athlete, but she also makes time for her partner-in-crime and boyfriend of one year and seven months, Sean McMenamin.

McMenamin also trains in taekwondo. He was able to travel to England for his first competition to compete with Deaton.

The two didn’t not meet through their sport, however.

“We actually met at a trivia [game night],” Deaton said.

The couple enjoys traveling together and having a competitive aspect in their relationship.

“Ex-girlfriends have always been touchy and sensitive when I’ve been competitive, but Corbin is not like that,” McMenamin said. “Especially since she’s a lot better than me at taekwondo, it’s a lot of fun. I like her a lot.”

Although their extensive competitions have brought them to many places around the world, the financial costs have always been a difficulty for Deaton and McMenamin.

No one funds them and every expense is out-of-pocket, so Deaton is always seeking out sponsorships to enable her to continue representing Team USA.

“I did get an academic award from the kinesiology department, which helped a lot,” Deaton said. “But it’s all off of fundraising.”

Deaton said the lack of funding has been difficult to stay on par with her competitors from other countries because of the funding available for them.

“They’re able to travel around more, and they don’t have to work,” Deaton said. “Literally their job is to train.”

Teaching on the horizon

In regards to her future with martial arts, Deaton is considering the possibility of opening up a school someday. Deaton currently runs a class on Saturdays and is using that to see if having a school is something she wants to do for the rest of her life.

But the bottom line for her is to never stop Taekwondo completely.

“I always want to stay consistent, even if it’s just helping out at a school or with classes,” Deaton said. “I never want to stop Taekwondo.”

Featured Image:  Corbin Deaton recently represented Team USA at the Taekwondo International meet in July. Deaton started with judo and jiu-jitsu in a mixed martial arts school in New Mexico before continuing on with karate and the art of taekwondo. Will Baldwin

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Claire Lin

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